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Family law: The what's his, what's hers dilemma

A divorce settlement generally spells out the details of a divorce. There are many legalities around family law in Alberta, and when things are spelled out as in who gets what when, it makes good sense to pay attention. It is perfectly fine to question what is written in divorce papers, particularly when uncertainty remains regarding specific terms. 

Spouses may head to mediation or court without really understanding how a divorce can affect them financially. If there are no plans for a financial shift, one individual could be left in a dire financial straits if he or she has to pay spousal and/or child support. The division of assets needs to be clearly documented as well.  Being in the dark about these issues could really mess up someone's financial future. 

Assuming every asset needs to be split down the middle is a misconception. Many people also aren't aware that pensions may be subject to property division. In fact, a pension is most likely one of the biggest assets in a long-time marriage. Likewise, many issues may have to be ironed out regarding the family home -- for instance, should one party keep it? Can either afford to maintain a home alone, or should it be sold and the profit divided?

These are types of issues that fall under the family law umbrella can be very complicated and may need the explanation of a lawyer. It may be prudent to talk to a financial professional as well as to enlist the help of an Alberta lawyer experienced in family law if going through a separation or a divorce. A lawyer may be able to offer some guidance regarding other issues like tax ramifications or what happens to inheritance money in a divorce situation.

Source: moneysense.ca, "What's his, what's hers", Accessed on Sept. 16, 2017

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